The Hallmark of a Great Book

Movies have it pretty easy. While watching Serenity last night after having watched a marathon of Firefly with the hubs all day, I realized a great deal of the emotion I felt was due to the music. Sure, the dialogue was great and even poetic sometimes, and the acting superb, but the music had more impact on me than any of the storylines on their own. It was what mades my heart race, hurt and heat with joy.

It got me to thinking about the books I love that evoke similar reactions in me. There’s no brilliant score playing in the background to toy with my sense of urgency, my fear and my inner romantic. There are no special effects to flash before my eyes and make me gasp and dig my fingers into the upholstery. They’re just words on a page.

Aren’t they?

In some books I suppose they are. In others, though, the words are arranged in such a way that my mind creates it’s own music as I’m reading. This, to me, is the hallmark of a great book.

I picked up a novel that I love and began reading last night to test my theory. As I came to parts that stir me, I didn’t so much listen as let myself feel. I found a music in my bones, in my soul. A humming in my ears as my emotion rose and fell. Like listening to a sunrise in silence when the warmth first falls over my face. It caused a humming in me that had no sound outside of my body. No defineable tune. Just … a connection. To the characters? To the story? The author? I have no idea, but those books that manage to evoke my inner music hardwire me into the story, and I can’t help but feel what the author wants me to feel.

I don’t know if I’ll ever achieve that level of connection with my readers, but this is what I strive for, to hook, play with, and set free my readers with a smile on their faces. It’ll be a hell of a lot of fun trying.

Are there any books that affect you this way? I’d love to hear about them.

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